The-Ozone Staff Picks: Ohio State at Michigan State

Terry McLaurin Ohio State Football Buckeyes

Nobody has time to watch football games anymore. We are all much too busy going to the beach or coaching our kids’ speedball league.

The good news is that we have you covered.

Because you are going to be be too busy Saturday at noon to watch Ohio State at Michigan State, we are going to tell you precisely what you’ll be missing. After all, with eight of us here picking the game, somebody is bound to summarize it relatively correctly.

For instance, last week Tom Orr predicted a 38-31 win over Nebraska. Now sure, he was far from correct, considering the Buckeyes only scored 36 points. And no, he didn’t mention anything about a blocked punt or a safety, but you have to admit, he almost got the score close to correct.

That’s the kind of service we promise to try to provide.

What does Saturday’s game against Michigan State look like?

Possibly like this…

Brandon Zimmerman

Ohio State took some baby steps forward last week to righting the ship. We saw Urban Meyer change up the philosophy with the running game. Demario McCall played very early and made some plays. Unfortunately, he was then put back into his glass container labeled “For Emergency Use Only.”

The defensive line rotated in some beef early and often with Haskell Garrett and Tommy Togiai, which is what they need upfront with no pass rush at all. Use those bodies to free up space for the linebackers who struggle to get off blocks. Last but not least, we saw the emergence of Brendon White at safety…who took no bad angles to a tackle which is absolutely nuts and something I didn’t think was possible.

On Saturday, this game will ultimately come down to the Ohio State offense vs the Michigan State defense. Ohio State’s inept defense should be able to hold Michigan State’s inept offense under 20 points. So the question becomes, can the Buckeye offense score more than that against the best defense they have faced this season? I think we see Ohio State put a little more of it all together and play better than we have seen in the past few weeks.

Ohio State 31, Michigan State 17

Caroline Rice

This game always worries me, especially when on the road. The records never matter when these two teams play because it is always a tough game for Ohio State.

The Buckeyes are going to need to run the ball like they did the last week, but also this team needs a good performance by Dwayne Haskins and Zone 6. Michigan State has the No. 1 run defense in the country, so the Scarlet and Gray have to get creative with how they are going to move the ball. I predict they will figure it out, but I think that they will still give up big plays defensively. Michigan State will have their moments and their share of big plays in this game.

I think this Buckeye team feels the sense of urgency with this game because their season depends on it. A two-loss Ohio State team before playing Michigan would not be the ideal scenario for the Buckeyes. Ohio State is the better and more talented team, they just have to play like it.

This will be a tough game for the Buckeyes, but I think they will figure out a way to win.

Ohio State 38, Michigan State 24

Tom Orr

OSU trips to Michigan State all follow along the lines of Phil Connors’ forecast in “Groundhog Day” – It’s going to be cold, it’s going to be gray, and it’s going to last you for the rest of your life.

Phil probably could have tacked “and it’s going to come down to the final minutes” on to the end of that.

As far as OSU fans can tell, it is perpetually 38 degrees and cloudy in East Lansing, Michigan. And it’s going to be right around there on Saturday as well.

The forecast for the game itself should follow a familiar pattern as well: It’s going to be close and relatively low-scoring.

MSU is getting some of its injured offensive players back this week, and the Spartans’ defense is good enough to make the Buckeyes one-dimensional.

In two of Ohio State’s last three trips to Spartan Stadium, they’ve won by identical 17-16 scores. This year’s Buckeye offense is a little better than those, but the defense is worse.

Ohio State 24, Michigan State 23

Michael Citro

The Spartans have a great run defense and the Buckeyes have shown most of the year that they have a pretty not great running game. It’s no surprise that Ohio State will need to rely heavily on the pass, but Michigan State will get after the quarterback as well as, if not better than, anyone the Bucks have played so far in 2018. Keeping Dwayne Haskins upright will be paramount to success.

Hopefully the Ohio State defense can continue to build upon the slight improvements of last week and keep the sometimes offensively-challenged Spartans under wraps so that Haskins can make enough plays on the road to keep the Buckeyes on schedule for their showdown with that team up north. It’s going to be close and special teams (i.e. Blake Haubeil) could be the difference.

Ohio State 23, Michigan State 21

Mike Meihls

Michigan State can stop the run. Luckily for Ohio State, the Buckeyes have not really been able to run the ball this year. On offense, MSU is better running the ball than throwing it. Again, this is lucky for Ohio State because they can’t really stop the pass this year.

I expect to see Ohio State continue to work on making their rushing attack serviceable. I also expect to see Haskins have a better game this week than he did against Nebraska. Sparty doesn’t have the pass defense to force another sub-60% completion game.

What is going to be exciting to see is how the OSU defensive backs take the field, with Fuller’s move and the fight for the other safety spot.

Expect to see a few #SpartyNo moments and to see the Buckeyes to continue their attempt to right the ship.

Ohio State 35, Michigan State 24

Chip Minnich

This was looking like a challenging game for Ohio State before the season began, and the inconsistencies displayed by the Buckeyes all season have done nothing to make this game look any better.

With the exception of last season’s blowout win by Ohio State, Michigan State always plays Ohio State tough, especially in East Lansing. A positive for Ohio State is that the Buckeyes have been able to overcome the traditionally stout Spartan defense, coming up with just enough points to eke out a close win.

I mentioned on the last Silver Bullets Podcast with Michael Citro the number 17 has figured prominently in this series, especially during Urban Meyer’s tenure (2012: OSU 17, MSU 16; 2015: MSU 17, OSU 14; 2016: OSU 17, MSU 16) – even with Michigan State’s offense having their own issues, I like Sparty to come up with at least 17 points, but Ohio State to have just a few more.

Ohio State 20, Michigan State 17

Tony Gerdeman

Michigan State is getting healthier at the right time, but quarterback Brian Lewerke is still playing in pain. His desire to avoid more pain may lead to a couple of turnovers. If the Buckeyes can capitalize on those turnovers, it will make their inability to run the ball less of an issue.

I don’t expect Ohio State to run the ball that well — only two teams have done anything other than terrible. Those two teams — Penn State and Michigan — were able to hit big shots on the ground. The Buckeyes have that capability, so perhaps they can get a big chunk to help the numbers.

Perhaps more important than OSU’s run blocking is their pass blocking. Michigan State has lost games while shutting the run down, so we know they can lose when the run game is outstanding. If the pass defense is good as well, then the Buckeyes are in trouble. The more time the Buckeye offensive line can give Dwayne Haskins, the more likely Ohio State is to win this game.

Ohio State 28, Michigan State 20

Adam Borland

Being the statistical nerd of the bunch, I went through and looked for some patterns to try and see what Ohio State may need to do to come out on top against the Spartans in East Lansing.

· Hold MSU under 107 yards rushing

o All three losses fall into this category, though it doesn’t bode well for an OSU run defense that is giving up an average of 190 yards on the ground to Big Ten opponents. – That’s a “No” from me, dog.

· Pass for more than 300 yards

o Ok, now we’re getting somewhere. The Buckeyes have accomplished this in all but two contests, and MSU is 1-2 when allowing that mark. – Done.

· Limit the Spartan scoring to under 21 points

o MSU is 0-3 when failing to hit the 3-TD point total. – Check.

The Buckeyes will allow more than the magical 107 yards of rushing, but will also throw for just over 300 and keep Michigan State under the 21-point mark. Ohio State wins a tough one in East Lansing, separating a bit in the late minutes of the fourth quarter.

Ohio State 31, Michigan State 20

33 Responses

  1. I’m glad that Haskins chose football over baseball. With that arm he could have been a great pitcher and with those running skills and that wicked slide…I can hear it now……….”SAFE!!!”

    As Urban would say, “Noted”. We need to toughen that boy up. He won’t last a series in the NFL. Jim Plunkett he’ll never be nor the Snake, Kenny Stabler. That’s dating myself. Modern QBs aren’t about toughness any more. It’s more like golf now. I hope. Tate reminds me more of Stabler or Tarkenten. I wish Dwayne could watch some of those guys. That dive last week was disgracefully sissy and every other team in America and maybe some pro scouts are taking note.

  2. Although that looks like a beautiful pipe I’ll have to defer because someone needs to be the designated driver. Party on. I won’t say a lot and it will be gentle. Mark Dantonio is salivating. Haskins has been practicing his dives all week to avoid contact. Red zone visits will result in FGs or failed 4th down attempts. Watch for low % on 3rd downs. All of this unless Martell goes in. The Oregon State Beavers scored 31 on the Buckeyes (when they had Bosa) and the second worst team in the Big 10 (Nebraska) did the same last week on the newly focused and bolstered East Coast defense. It could be an ugly, sloppy game. Then there’s the bad news. Lol. It’s 0-0 and anything can happen. I’m looking forward to this fun rivalry game with our little brother (Michigan is big sister).

    Tom Orr edged me out by a point last time. That’s like getting silver in the Olympics by a hundredth of a second. “The agony of defeat” as Jim KcKay used to say. Andrew A. was right there on the green too for an easy birdie. Well played, gentlemen. I’m hoping for an OSU win but there is little to support that result today in East Lansing. It’s a close one and could go to the wire. Dantonio smiles and Urban eats cold pizza and nurse a Costco sized bottle of Ibuprofen. I hope not.

    Ohio State 23
    Michigan State 24

  3. When a CFB team’s offense is having problems OU’s defense is the perfect Rx

  4. Hope everyone will take the time to read Mr. AA latest post. Very informative. You don,t have to agree with his opinions but the way he expresses them commands respect. Something that has been lacking around here in the last few months. If you ever get to Florida Andrew, give a shout. Hope all is fine with you & family.

    1. Thank you kindly, Ed. I’ve a nephew in Fort Lauderdale so maybe.
      We’re struggling, but hopefully the new year will bring better fortunes. 🙂

  5. If the game is low-scoring that will mean the defense has played it’s best game of the year to date and the Buckeyes should win 21 – 17-ish.
    If the Buckeyes’ D plays an ‘average’ game for them THIS YEAR (i.e. not an average Silver Bullet game, but average for this year) then the Buckeyes will need to score their customary 30+ in order to win.
    Other factors are L.J. Scott is healthy and being an Ohio kid he has an axe to grind vs. the Buckeyes, as always. Also the Spartan linebacker Bache (sp?) who wasn’t offered by the Bucks caused 3 fumbles BY HIMSELF last week and recovered one of those forced fumbles. If the Buckeyes haven’t figured out how to hang onto the ball (6 fumbles though only 2 lost) vs. Nebraska they WILL get blown out this week.
    I think the Bucks run better than they have most of the year, but still not great vs. Sparty. The Spartan offense is “just what the doctor ordered” for the ailing Buckeye D but still not quite bad enough for the game to be comfortable.
    The difference will be ball security, penalties, 3rd and 4th and short, and special teams.
    Buckeyes 31
    Sparty 28

    1. I hope you’re right Andrew but I think “This Defense will be exactly what the Doctor ordered to help the ailing MSU offense” . We can stop a runny nose with a handful of tissues let alone 10+ pissed of Ohio kids with a ax to grind and playing their superbowl just to make sure Urban knows he made a mistake picking kids from out of state over them! I see this as an Iowa/Purdue style beatdown

      1. I can certainly see it happening that way, Joe. Especially if Bachie (the linebacker from Ohio) can force a fumble or two I could easily see a Sparty blowout. We’ll see.

  6. Not sure what team Brandon, Tom, Caroline, Michael, Mike, Chip, and Tony are watching. This one is gonna be ugly boys and girls. This defense will make Lewerke look like Drew Breese or Payton Manning. MSU rolls tomorrow and will win by 3 scores.

    On a side note, I am so sick and tired of hearing about how Schianos defense is exotic. There is absolutely ZERO exotic about this defense. its a standard 4-3 press man-2 over and occasionally they throw in a nickel look.

    The reason he is putting the linebackers up on the line is because he realized not a damn one of them can read and react not can they effectively fill their gap assignments so he is forcing them into gaps to disrupt the run…which still didn’t work because they cant freaking tackle…pretty piss poor

    1. “Not sure what team Brandon, Tom, Caroline, Michael, Mike, Chip, and Tony are watching. This one is gonna be ugly boys and girls. This defense will make Lewerke look like Drew Breese or Payton Manning. MSU rolls tomorrow and will win by 3 scores.”

      I think Homer Simpson said it best when he remarked, “Woohoo! In your FACE, Flanders!”

  7. Ohio State has been purely awful on the football field the entire 2018 season. Yes, I hear you boo birds saying….but, but, but. PLEASE, just shut up. “Appearing” to have made adjustments at the break against dumpster fire football teams that the talent alone on the Buckeye roster should mangle anyway………….does NOT deserve any but, but, buts. The last I checked, Urban Meyer was still employing Greg Schiano and Bill Davis……….and they are among the Nations most garbage can level “so-called” coaches Those 2 have 4 handedly made a roster full of top talent look like subterranean inner earth dwellers who have never seen the light of day, much less a football.

    This is a no brainer. 11 defenders have played really bad through 9 games…………..during the 10th a player actually takes the field and looks like a blinding flash of light on special teams AND as a replacement for the only Buckeye defender who has actually shown up in games……………and these idiots called coaches dance back and forth, splitting reps, and flip flopping on who to start. Ockham’s Razor breaks it down quite easily. He removed the unprovable aspects of emotion/faith/gut feeling/etc and relied on experiential provable facts and truths that are observable. Brendon White stepped onto the field and became an instant provable living fact. That IS quantifiable and not distorted by a coaches gut feelings, or personal favorites. But the geniuses called coaches flip flop, waffle, and measure on their emotions. If I choose a solid walled veloci raptor pen with holes only large enough to put my arm through around the walled enclosure, and persistently don’t get even a nibble on it at random holes, I might come to the conclusion there is no raptor inside at all. That’s how offenses are viewing the Buckeye defense. As non-existent. In steps a guy, a raptor, who rather than relying on unpredictability, relies on his eyes. Instead of over analyzing he stays observant and attacks any arm (offensive player) he see’s with the ball. SEE BALL, GET BALL. Nothing fancy, just simple fundamentals…………..LET THAT RAPTOR hunt, he’s hungry and until he proves otherwise, just accept that he’s going to eat any arm that is stuck into his enclosure regardless of what hole it comes through.

    This game comes down to what team wants it more. The flip flopping this week with those geniuses on defense says that rather than going with the simplest answer, prefer emotional poppycock that convolutes the entire structure. Dantonio’s defense is simple. If the raptor bites, he plays and it makes no difference whose name or number is etched on him. The Buckeyes NEED someone biting in the back end because it’s stark and obvious that the linebackers are docile and useless to even the base, and most minimalistic ideals of defenders.

    Ohio State is going to score plenty enough points to win. The question is if the Ohio State defense has anyone biting and preventing the Spartans from scoring even more. Which Buckeye defense shows up? The raptor led defense from last week, or the pathetic clown shows of days gone by? I’m only hoping that Alex Grinch ignores the feeble exiotic stupidity of Schiano and turns the raptor loose.

    Ohio State 42
    MSO 17

  8. Excellent Kurt Mews your posts, as usual are informative & will written. You are a gentleman & chose not to attack a get personal with another just because their opinion may be different then yours. It’s refreshing of late to be able to read a post from someone who actually has knowledge of the game. Osu is going to find a way to win this game. Will watch for your post after the game. Hope we hear from Mr AA. Another Gentleman!!

  9. I hope I’m wrong and I want to be wrong but I’m expecting an L tomorrow. Just don’t see this team being tough enough to go to their place and get a W. Sparty will run all over us and grind out 4 to 5 yards a carry and shorten the game by controlling the clock and will mix in enough passes to move the chains (remember 2015)? Hopefully Lewerke (if he plays) will suck as bad throwing the ball as he did against scUM which will help but I just don’t see us stopping their running game with our porous D and our totally ineffective LB’s. This will force our O to press and lately our O just hasn’t been that efficient. Weather could be a huge factor on Haskins ability to throw the ball which will not help our O one bit. Dantonio will get us somewhere with a trick play. Sparty in a close one 21-17.

  10. If Buckeyes go with same linebackers,and don’t play Martell in certain situations they lose 21-10

  11. Very glad to hear that all are very positive, most of the National crystal ball gazers are not. Biting our nails until 1:24 left in the game against NE at home does nothing to ease my concern for just not this game, but for all three left. My fear is that MSU will find success running and causing our underachieving LB to trip over each other’s feet as D’antonio is pretty smart with all sorts of short and keep the drive going types of plays While MSU’ D has a vaunted reputation, no O with an actual pulse should really be that afraid. #25 and #2 will not have the OK Sooner land rush type of runs we saw last year. But a sharper Haskins can fly the friendly skies in Lansing. A few questions, can OSU get a lead and change the trajectory of this game as it never did with Purdue? Can our red zone O actually put up points to extend and build leads that will be necessary to come away with a win and that’s to be seen. I can see this game going +10 for either team.

    1. He didnt seem to smart keeping drives going in his 3 losses. He didnt seem to smart last year when His team was blown off the field.

  12. It all depends on how tough Haskins is. They will hit him early. If he folds, game over. If he persists, stays patient, and does not start getting rid of the ball too early, we have a chance. MSU will run plenty on us and score in the 30’s.

  13. “This year’s Buckeye offense is a little better than those.” In what way Tom?

    1. Tom’s correct, in those two games, one played in 2016 and one played in Urban’s first year, our O struggled. Remember the 31-0 beatdown in the 2016 playoff against Clemson that led to Day being hired. Remember that in Urban’s first year, TSUN O never crossed the 50, but our O couldn’t do anything and we needed OT games to get wins as our O was punchless and Creed II? This O is far more competent. It may not be balanced, but statistically it’s light years ahead of both seasons that Tom refers and if it gets its act together can arguably put 50 on the vast majority of teams including MSU. Remember, we lost to Purdue but outgained them. This O scored 2 TD’s against PSU there in 6 minutes with ease and the O even though it sputtered put 36 pts. against NE and it could of been a boat load more.

  14. 5 of you are on crack. Sparty 26-23. OSU will be lucky to crack 20 – what have you been watching the last month that would make anyone think we can score 4 — FOUR touchdowns agains this team????

    1. Yeah. I have to agree, Sean. The homer vibe is strong this week.

    2. At first I agree with you, but if we could find any success running the ball, this is the first real O with speed, depth and versatility that MSU has seen and that includes PSU/MI. If we’re balanced and can find success running the ball and our red zone like gets to 60%, we could even crack 40, but I don’t see that, but who knows, this is Urban and still a very talented team.

    3. Favorite OSU Football Traditions (no particular order):
      -Script Ohio
      -Victory Bell
      -Gold Pants
      -Being called a crackhead or effing wind bag each week by Sean

      1. I aim to please. BTW, in case anyone was wondering – my least favorite tradition is seeing the same effort and same plays with little or no adjustments week after week- Why not put the QB under center and run North South. Tate must be the greatest teammate in history for putting up with this. I hope he gets his shot. I thought what Haskings did with the slide was disgusting and it has not been talked about enough. Krenzel, Smith, Prior, Barrett, Jones would have plowed into those ass holes. Now I am a windbag.

        1. Hah! I don’t disagree, Sean. But I am glad that they showed different plays and adjustments last week against Nebraska, with regards to the run game. Also in agreement on the QB under center in short yardage situations. I believe Tate’s shot will come next year, but it’s been clear why so many want him on the field at times this year. Yes, Haskins’ slide attempts this year have been way worse than when Willie Mays Hayes came up 2′ short of second base. To windbaggery!!

          1. AJ, I think NE is better than most think. they are still working out the kinks with a new staff but I think Frost will eventually get NE to the top 10 of college football. Tom Osborne was recruiting nationally with the best of them, pulling players from all over and especially from the west coast.. NE at their peek was constantly in the preseason top 2 year in year for many years. along with fsu and the hurricanes. they always seemed have a walk on FB that

        2. “Krenzel, Smith, Prior, Barrett, Jones would have plowed into those ass holes.”

          And Cardell would have hurdled over them on his way to a 12 yard pick up.

    4. because Northwestern did it against that great defense

    5. You guys didn’t tell me crack was available as an Ozone perk. Is it because I’m new this year?

      1. I thought you were an abstainer, Michael. You were clean going into the Purdue game. As a friend let me caution you that there’s been a synthetic scarlet and gray form going around this year that’s much more potent than the usual stuff they sell around Columbus. I’ve heard it came in from the East Coast. New Jersey or something like that.

        1. LOL, nothing potent has come in from the East Coast.

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